Gender Stereotypes: Time for Change?

What do you do when your kids don’t fit the ‘normal’ gender stereotypes? What do you do when you daughter tells you she wants to be Batman? Or when your son attempts to breastfeed a doll?

I’m speaking from experience here. These are two scenarios I have found myself in with my kids and many more since. My response was to just let them be (although I did attempt to explain why boys couldn’t breastfeed).

Corey is 5 and although he loves Batman and Lego, he’ll happily play with his sisters dolls and watch Frozen. And do you know what, I’m fine with this.

I’m also totally comfortable that Anya, who is 3, has been known to wear her brothers old clothes and loves Batman.

So where am I going with this?

Cheryl Rickman decided that it was about time that society removed the standard labels surrounding what girls and boys should and shouldn’t do. She has spent years campaigning and meeting with retailers to reduce the gender sterotyping of clothing.

The next step, after speaking the children themselves, was to write a book.

“I thought, if we can’t shield our children from these stereotypes, at least we can help them see them for what they are.”

The next step for Cheryl was to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The aim is to get her children’s book published to show children that all toys/clothes/colours/hobbies are for everyone and encourage kids to be proud to be all that they are.

The YES YOU CAN BOOK is aimed at 3-8 year olds. It features The Climbing Trees Girls: Eva, the outdoorsy one; Maxi, the creative/skateboarding one and B, the football-loving sporty one.

The girls find themselves in a strange new world where people are told what they should play with, what they should wear and what they should do for a living, based on the colour of their hair – an analogy to explain the futility of gender stereotypes to a younger audience.

To back this project, visit

It would be brilliant if you could spare a little to help fund the publishing of this book and help to show children they don’t have to change who they are to suit outdated gender stereotypes.

About the Author

Cheryl Rickman is a business and well-being book author/ghostwriter, with 12 books published. This her first children’s book. Cheryl qualified as a Positive Psychology Practitioner in January 2017 and is an Ambassador for Let Clothes Be Clothes and The Network of Wellbeing. She lives in Hampshire with her daughter, husband and dog.

I really hope you will be able to support this campaign.

April TV Schedule

What’s on your TV schedule for the next month? Any series coming back that you love?

It’s that time of year when the TV listings switch around and all the programs you enjoyed watching before Christmas start coming to an end to make way for some new ones.

I don’t tend to watch too much live TV. I much prefer to catch up with things (cuts out the adverts) and love my Sky+ and Sky Boxsets for this reason.

So what am I looking forward to in the next few weeks?


Blindspot is due to return to Sky Living in April following it’s mid season break and I can’t wait. I love this program and can’t wait to see how they wrap everything up this time around.

Doctor Who

The Doctor is due to return around Easter with this season (Season 10) being the last for Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat. There is already speculation over who will be returning as the 13th Doctor. Personally, I have no idea who it will be and it’s safe to say that for the first couple of episodes I won’t like whoever they cast!

Madam Secretary

I didn’t watch this when it was first shown on TV but am currently working my way through the Sky Boxset and I’m loving it. I seem to be enjoying my American political dramas at the minute as I’m also catching up on Scandal.


Quantico returned to our screens for a second series in March and, as with the first series, I’m loving it.

Other series that are currently taking up space on my Sky+ box are Shades of Blue, Lethal Weapon and lots of DC/Marvel shows.

What are you looking forward to watching in April?

Thanks for reading, until next time.


6 Months to Change My Life – Review

Back in September I set myself a set of goals in order to make some changes in my life.

Unfortunately I have fallen very short with almost all of my goals, so much so that I decided to abandon them at the beginning of the year. I spent some time reassessing my situation and trying to work out where I went wrong.

How Did I Do?

Personal Development

I have set up my planner and have almost set up my GTD system. However I haven’t been using them as much as I’d have liked recently.

Since the beginning of the year I have read a total of 13 books so I have managed to keep up with this.


Again this is a 50/50 win. We haven’t been having as many date night away from home or our movie nights but the counselling is going well.

Health and Fitness

The less said about this the better. I haven’t reach my target weight, nor have I begun any kind of exercise routine.


This is one area where I have actually made some progress. I’ve been trying to post regularly and have begun to look into ways to monetise by blog.

I have also been looking at some possible jobs in my local area which fit in with my family life so all in all I would say this was an area that I am winning in.


Again, I have made some progress on my goals for this area. I have been giving blood as often as I can and have been helping others where possible too.

The only thing remaining is to make a decision regarding the Dyspraxia Foundation role.


Things haven’t worked out too well in this area. I have made some moves towards reaching my goals but unfortunately they haven’t quite gone to plan.


Not gone quite as well as planned due to some unforeseen expenses. However we have some money saved some I’m not counting it as a loss just yet.

Physical Environment

There is no way to put this other than to say that this area has been a total fail. That said I have got some new bedding, towels and paint for our bedroom so I did make some effort.

As far as the clutter goes, it’s still there smirking at me with all it’s friends – I’m blaming Christmas and birthdays for it all!


As many mums will tell you, taking care of yourself is usually low on the priority list. Well, this mum is no different. No matter how hard I try to find regular time for myself I usually end up cleaning up after the kids or something equally as mundane.


It’s easy to see where my priorities lie. I have managed to book a family holiday and had an amazing time for my 40th birthday.

We have also had some amazing family fun so overall this area is on track.

Where Did I Go Wrong?

After giving it some thought I think my main issue is trying to do too much in one go. It’s also pretty easy to see, after analysing my wins, where my priorities and focus lie. I love reading and writing so any goals relating to these areas are easy for me to reach. Whereas, things like exercise and eating healthily, aren’t things I overly enjoy (although I love the results) so I find goals in these areas harder to focus on.

Next Steps

I’m not giving up on my goals just yet, although I will be making some changes. I’m planning on reducing the number of goals I aim for within each area and will be focusing on the goals I find harder more often.

I will be back very soon with more information on my goals for the next 6 months so watch this space.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

Book Review – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson had been on my kindle TBR list for ages and after reading the synopsis again I decided to give it a go.

Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.


Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


I feel I must start with a bit of a warning about this book. It has some disturbing content and may be a little bit unsettling for some readers. It will most definitely not be for everyone.

Aside from the blurb, I knew nothing at all about this book and hadn’t read anything by Dot Hutchinson before. After reading the book, this will very likely change.

The story is dark and twisted in a way I’ve not come across since reading Karin Slaughter’s Blindsighted. However I felt compelled to keep reading.

The story is told from two points of view. Firstly there is Maya, a former captive from the garden, who is retelling her story and refuses to be rushed. Secondly there are the FBI agents in charge of the case. The book alternates between past as Maya recounts her horrifying tale of captivity and the present as the FBI conduct their interview with her.

This type of storytelling worked really well within the book as it allows the reader time to process what had happened to the girls in the garden without becoming too overwhelming. In my opinion, it helped to add a little suspense to the story and kept you hanging on as each little mystery was revealed.

The character development is good. However, I found the overall storyline little lacking in places and the ending twist didn’t quite deliver the sharp intake of breath I expected after reading the rest of the book. Nevertheless I’m not going to let a slightly lacklustre ending spoil what was one of my favourite reads this year.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x


TSG Book Box – J’Taime

*Disclaimer: This is a totally unbiased review of a product I purchased myself. I am in no way affiliated with Emma-Louise Smith or The Stationery Geekette

Firstly I must apologise for the lateness in writing this post and must point out that the last date for ordering the next box has now past. However they April box will be on sale from 1 April if you wish to order.

Anyway, back to my review. As I mentioned last month there are now three different box options to choose from (standard box with paperback/kindle voucher, deluxe box with book/kindle voucher or a basic accessories pack), This month I went for the kindle option.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, this month’s box was titled Je T’aime. As the name suggests this month was all about love whether that be hearts and flowers or self-care and the contents supported this 100%.

The chosen book was Wintersong by S Jae-Jones and focuses on the bond between siblings and since I had opted for the kindle book I received an Amazon gift card code so I could download my book.
Other items in this months box were a handmade bookmark, a face mask, some hot chocolate, a chocolate rose and some hand cream. Unfortunately I never got the chance to sample ANY of the chocolate as my kids got there before me (but since this month  we are all about love I let them off).

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Debbie x

I couldn’t live without …

The Planner Girls Collective are discussing what they can’t live without this week Obviously since we are ‘all about the planners’ chances are there will be a lot of planner related items but don’t be surprised if a few non-planner related items pop up.

I’ve got to admit I have struggled a little bit with this question as there are a lot of things that, given the choice, I wouldn’t want to give up, however if I had to I could probably live without them as they make my life easier/more fun.

I thought I’d ask my OH what he thought (silly idea), his answer was air!! So off I went back to my little corner to have a long hard think and here’s what I finally decided on.

  1. My phone – I’m a little sad to say that my phone is pretty much an extension of me. It keeps me in touch with family and friends, both real life and virtual. It allows me to keep notes while out and about, check things out on the internet, stops me from getting lost, reminds me about things – I really would be lost without it.
  2. My family – they drive me crazy sometimes but I really wouldn’t like to be without them for very long (although I’d happily take a weekend away without any of them once in a while)
  3. My regularly used planners – I can’t pick a particular one and say that’s the one as I love them all equally and they all have their own uses and help keep me sane.
  4. A good selection of pens – what use is a planner without something to write with, yes I could have said a pencil but that would soon get boring.
  5. Books/Kindle – I need to have at least one book to keep me from going completely crazy. Reading is my daily dose of self care.
  6. Tea – while most people need coffee to get going on a morning I most definitely will not function without at least one cup of hot tea. Any mums out there will relate to the fact that most of the time your hot drinks tend to be lukewarm at best by the time you get around to drinking so I make it my mission to have a hot drink first thing on a morning.

What things could you not live without?

Check out what the rest of the Planner Girls Collective can’t live without

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

TSG Book Box Review

*Disclaimer: This is a totally unbiased review of a product I purchased myself. I am in no way affiliated with Emma-Louise Smith or The Stationery Geekette

This is the first box since the changes made by Emma over the Christmas period. There are now three box options to choose from. This month I went for the standard box with paperback.

Other options are standard box with kindle voucher, deluxe box with either paperback or kindle voucher or a basic accessories pack.

This month’s box was titled Amongst The Stars and the book was Fate of Perfection by K F Breene.  As always the book was beautifully wrapped in tissue paper – this month we had stars.

Also included in this month’s box were some wax melt stars from Smelly Tarts Belfast which unfortunately I didn’t like the smell of, but they are beautiful and sparkly.

Next up we had some reading stickers from Hazydaysuk which I love and can’t wait to start using.

A postcard with an Oscar Wilde quote from Literary Emporium which, again I love.

Finally there was a star wish bracelet from Hampers Boutique which has been procured by my youngest daughter.

Once again I love the box and the contents and will be getting started on the book very soon (watch out for my review). I also feel a shout out should be given to the accompanying note which is written on gorgeous paper and details various meteor showers and eclipses.

I’m pleased to say that the challenges are back again this month and I will be working my way through these over on my Instagram using #tsgbbchallenge.

February’s boxes are on sale until 14th and this month’s theme is Je T’aime. If you like what you’ve seen and want one for yourself, just head over to Etsy.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Debbie x

My Favourite Inspirational Quotes

Everyone loves a good quote, even one that has been misquoted or mis-attributed. Today the Planner Girls Collective will be taking a look at some of our favourite inspirational quotes/sayings and how we use them on a daily basis.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are ten of my favourite inspirational quotes. Check out my Pinterest board for more.

  1. No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent – Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. Be yourself; everyone else is taken – Oscar Wilde
  3. I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work – Thomas Edison
  4. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself – George Bernard Shaw
  5. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! – Audrey Hepburn
  6. Whatever you are, be a good one – Abraham Lincoln
  7. Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  8. Be the change that you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Ghandi
  9. Believe you can and you’re halfway there – Theodore Roosevelt
  10. Just do what works for you, because there will always be someone who thinks differently – Michelle Obama

As for using the quotes, the possibilities are endless, especially when it comes to planners.

I have made them into stickers to use in my planners, I have made dashboards with them, I have used them as decoration. Here are a selection of photos showing my uses.




Also, don’t forget to check out the other awesome ladies from the collective via links below.

Until next time

Debbie x

Is there anybody there?

Happy New Year!  Apologies to those of you who read my blog (I hope you’re still there). I can confirm that I haven’t dropped off the blogsphere completely although it may have appeared that way for a few months towards the end of last year. However, I’m here and happy to report that I’m pretty much back on track and ready to face 2017 with a new found enthusiasm.

I’ve slowly been easing my way back into normality over this past week and have managed to find some time to review my goals for 2017 and I will be posting about them later in order to hold myself accountable to you guys. I have also been working on getting my planners/journals/notebooks set up for the year and will be sharing my setups with you too once.

Well I’ll be off, I just thought I’d drop by to let you know that normal service will be resumed very shortly.

Debbie x




Planner Update

Back at the beginning of September after a bit of a planner funk during August, which I think was mainly down to the school holidays, I had the hare-brained idea to switch from my trusty bullet journal to an A5 ring bound planner using DIYFish inserts v2.2 do2p. Now, don’t get me wrong I love the DIYFish inserts and have used them in the past without any issues; I love the space and flexibility of them, however this time around I just couldn’t make them work no matter how hard I tried so I finally admitted defeat and began to brainstorm what I wanted/needed from a planner.

I thought long and hard about what worked for me before with my bullet journal and tried to pinpoint where it all went wrong and what I decided was that although I loved the concept of the bullet journal on a day to day basis but I didn’t like drawing out my weekly/monthly pages, especially when life got busy. This left me with a bit of a dilemma; I contemplated going right back to basics and follow Ryder Carroll’s original bullet journal set up but for me that felt a bit too plain and I realised that I didn’t like having to rewrite collections. So what’s a girl to do?

Well this one decided to make her own booklets! I did a bit of research on the internet and found a video explaining how to make your own booklets using Microsoft Word (when your printer doesn’t have the booklet options) and off I went.

I decided to do one booklet per month (well every 4 weeks as it turned out easier to do that way); each month has an overview page and monthly projects list followed by my monthly review, memories, gratitude and tracker. After this we move onto the weekly/daily pages. I have a double page spread for each week which is one that I’ve tried and tested previously and works well for me. After each weekly spread I have seven blank pages for my daily pages followed by my weekly review questions. This repeats itself for 4 weeks and then I have a couple of lined pages for notes. I have currently printed inserts for October, November and December and on the whole I’m pretty pleased with how they have turned out, however I need to improve my cutting skills considerably.

I love the fact that I have spreads that work for me, but I don’t have to spend the time drawing up week on week. I also like the fact that I can add decoration/stickers if I choose and can switch up my fonts/colours etc each month should I wish to as my lettering skills need a lot of work.

My collections are kept in two separate notebooks. One contains long term collections such as vehicle maintenance logs and medical notes while the other is for short term collections and things that are date specific such as party planning etc. These inserts are standard squared notebooks from Travelers Times on Etsy.


Once I’d done my inserts I needed to find somewhere to keep them all together and decided to use my Websters Colour Crush Travelers Notebook temporarily but I have my eye on an Uglydori  from Ugly Bug Does which I’m hoping Santa might bring me (once I choose from the gorgeous colours available) so I can put my creative journaling inserts back in their home.

I’ve not got much in the way of decoration in my planner at the minute except my lovely owl and ghost paperclips from Cherry Blossom in the Market Square, my fox paperclip and planner charm from the Ugly Bug Does October subscription box and my little owl charm from the first bookclub box from The Stationery Geekette.

I still need to add a couple of notebooks to finish off my GTD system as that’s still a bit of a work in progress at the minute but I have made a project planning notebook and will do a separate post on my full system once it’s completely set up and working well.

Well that’s my set up at the minute and I’m really happy with it. I’ve got my enthusiasm for planning back and am slowly getting back on track with everything so I think this could be my planner peace (for the next month or so at least).

Have you ever found planner peace? Did it last?

Debbie x